Monday, July 31, 2017

10 Ways to Reassess Your Goals When You're Feeling Stuck

Sorry I wasn't around on Friday, it was an extremely rough day for us. More divorce drama and not any sleep = no blogging, and a grumpy demeanor. Boo! Moving right along (because the rest of the weekend was great, and I even got to meet up with Shea, which was so awesome! Click that link to check out our "oh yeah, we should take a selfie!" selfie. hehe We did some fun chatting and brainstorming, so stay tuned for some fun collaborations! :)

I don't know about you, but when I hit a setback, or get into a funk... I often realize it's because I'm not working toward anything.

Now you might be thinking... "it's ok to just relax, you don't need to be striving all of the time!" - that's definitely true! But I've realized that if I go long enough without looking at my goals or working on some introspection I feel extremely unmoored. Especially when the world is a mess, or maybe people in your circle (but maybe not in your home) are causing stress. There's not much you can do to make significant change in those situations. Rather than letting myself be entirely bogged down by this, I try to put a plan of my own into action. Working on my goals helps my anxiety tremendously, and it also helps me to know myself better. I notice how I change, what I need, what I don't want, etc.

How on earth do you get started again? It's not necessarily a new year... so what can you do to get your brain going?

(recently being in said funk....) Here are a few things that help me & some great free resources!

1) revisit your yearly (or other recent) goals

By revisiting past goals, you can see how you're doing, where you're going, and what you're no longer interested in. If you look back a few years at your older goals, it may remind you of something that you still hope to try or accomplish, but have forgotten about. Just looking at your list can get your brain thinking. This can also help you figure out why you're in a slump. Do you not care about your goals anymore? Drop them! Do you not feel excited by some of them? Change them! Are you forgetting what they are?! Print them! Stick them in Evernote or your planner.

2) try a yearly (or birthday) reflection

I saved an article a few years ago about the top 5 regrets of the dying written by a hospice nurse. She then came up with a "birthday check-in" for herself, to make sure that she "never goes more than a year without attending to her life on the deepest level. It's an annual regret-prevention measure." I FINALLY remembered to do this around my birthday this year, but you could do it annually regardless of what month you choose. I found doing this reflection very interesting.

3) think of your longer-term (almost bucket list style) goals & put an assured spin on them

I have a confession: I'm not great at setting long term goals. I have a hard time "dreaming". I like to pick things that are achievable. I also have a hard time picturing my future. Some days I could picture living in Scotland, traveling around Europe on the weekends with KC. Other days I picture a farmhouse, an orchard, and lots of sticky children. It's very difficult to pinpoint what I want, so long term goals stress me out. However, they can be very useful as well. Give yourself permission to dream for a while! Start my trying a 10 years from now list. Write it as if you will do it, by 2027 I have been to 7 new countries. By 2027 I have bought a house. By 2027 I am a full-time writer. Etc. Visualizing it is half the battle.

I also find the exercise in the Passion Planner helpful. It's a free download if you share on social media that you are using it. It has you spend 5 minutes brainstorming what you want in the next three months, one year, three years, and lifetime. I've done it twice, and it was fun to compare to see which goals were the same vs. not. And which ones are probably worth working on more, because they keep showing up. Just have fun with this exercise!

4) use words to focus your goals

When you are thinking about your goals (old or new), try to think of a word that appears a lot. Or a theme within the goals. Maybe you use fresh a lot. Maybe you need to be outside and eating fresh foods. Maybe you use energy a lot. Maybe you need to focus some effort on sleep, nutrition, and spending your free time off of your phone. For me, last year I felt a definite lack of space. I didn't have physical space or mental space and it was really starting to get to me. So my word of the year this year is space, and most of my goals for 2017 are centered around creating physical and mental space. I like the idea of focusing on your word more throughout the year. It will give you a focus for your goals, it will help justify them by showing you the life you want to be building, the things that are currently missing or lacking in your life. I stumbled across this great way to document your word of the year goal progress on Youtube. It's the coolest thing I've seen lately. I want to do one of my own! It's a great way to mark your progress, but a list would do just fine if you're not craft inclined.

5) happiness project resolutions

When I was writing my goals for 2017, I did a lot of reflecting on my friend Rachel's happiness resolutions. She had been reading Gretchen Rubin, and even though I hadn't had time... I wanted to make one too. Even just trying the activity helped me think about what is important to me and what isn't. It was incredibly helpful in centering myself, and in feeling like I had some ideas of what I wanted, and what made me happy. I then made my own list, and I keep it in Evernote. It's really helping me to go back through it and reflect on the list, especially when working on new goals.

6) renaissance soul?

You've probably heard me mention this book before, but I am absolutely the kind of person who loves too many things to pick just one. Does that sound like you? If so, seriously read THIS BOOK. It helped me so much to center my current interests, and how to fit them into my schedule. It gives tons of real life examples, has plenty of activities, etc. I cannot recommend this enough if you feel the way I do.

7) level 10 life

This concept is big among bullet journallers (I'll get to that in a bit)... and was discussed by Hal Elrod in his book Miracle Morning. It has you break your life down into 10 categories, and rate the level you think you're at right now. Those categories are: Family & Friends, Personal Development, Spirituality, Finances, Career, Marriage, Fun & Recreation, Giving & Contribution, Physical Environment, and Health and Fitness. By ranking where you are right now, you can set goals to improve specific areas. I like this post with some ideas from Boho Berry.

8) procrastination inventory

On my 2017 half way through the year check in Torrie shared this fabulous post she wrote back in 2012! Its all about tracking what sorts of things you continually procrastinate on (hello yoga! hello dentist! etc.) I cannot wait to fill out this worksheet (she links to it in the bottom of her post) and delve a bit more into where I procrastinate vs. don't. Then maybe I can brainstorm some ways to focus on those problem areas!

9) think of the big ones

If your dreams don't scare you, you're not dreaming big enough, right? That's what we hear anyway. Over time it has become harder for me to dream this big, probably because I'm afraid to fail..? But I've realized that having BIG goals, dreams, etc. is really really important in addition to the ones that are going to be easier to accomplish. Even if they change, or you only get to do one of them in your lifetime, dreaming is such a big part of happiness for us. It helps us realize what we want, and how we change. I also find the bigger my goals are, if I meet one, it's easier to meet more. It becomes a priority. (if you want it to).

9) keep track of it all

If you're doing these exercises, these lists, journalling, etc. keep it close. Keep track of your progress, your changes, etc. I love to keep my goals in Evernote, but I also like keeping it in a new bullet journal that I am trying out. I don't think I'll use it for day to day planning, but just for goals and introspection. Having it all in once place will keep it easy to access. If you can't reference your goals, they'll be harder to carry out!

10) add what's missing or lacking to your life (even if it's a tiny change)

If you've been revisiting your goals, working on some lists and ideas, just thinking about yourself and what you want and need out of life... you've probably identified some weak spots. Now you might be thinking... "all my spots are weak spots!". Sure, I understand, there's a lot to be working on! We all want to "fix" so many things in our lives. But what I'm talking about are the biggest things. The ones that are almost "ah ha" moments. For me, it was that so many of my goals were centered around needing space. Other times it's been realizations that I love the water and need to be near it, or hear it, etc. What are those things for you? How can you add them to your life? Sometimes it's something big, sometimes it's something small. Maybe you can supplement it in a smaller way that still makes you feel more fulfilled? For example, if you are wanting adventure and travel, but cannot afford to travel right now... what else can you do? Watch movies or read books set in far away places, try new cuisines at home or at restaurants, try listening to some salsa, reggae, or Celtic music, even taking a day trip to a nearby city and wandering around can help. Don't think that you can't add what you need to your life. Get creative, I'm sure there's something you can do to fill that gap!

So there you have it... 10 ways I've been re-assessing my goals since my 27th birthday. To say that I felt lost was probably and understatement... but by spending some time with and by myself, I was able to brainstorm where I am, what I want, and how to get it. 

Will my goals change? Probably. Does that make these exercises less valuable? Nope. :) 

How do you get back on track when you feel stuck?

How do you choose your goals or reflect on what you want?

What are some small ways to add what you need to your life?

Hope this helps if you're feeling like I did!



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